Compared to last year when the coronavirus pandemic was rife, Turkey is looking to welcome twice as many tourists in 2021. Nadir Alpaslan, the Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister said that the country is expecting to play host to at least 34 million foreign visitors this year.
According to official data released, throughout last year the number of foreign visitors to Turkey fell by 71.7%, but still managed to exceed 12.7 million.
Turkey has implemented strict safety and hygiene measures under the safe tourism certification program that was put in place by the government earlier last year. According to Alpaslan, the program is what gave Turkey the edge over the other southern European countries when it came to tourists choosing their destination.
National vaccination program
Representatives from the tourism sector have expressed their gratitude as Turkey has taken the step to prioritise those working within the sector in their national vaccination program. By doing so, this will see Turkey emerge one step ahead of the tourism competition. This means priority for vaccines will be given to people working at establishments that have safe tourism certificates and is set to include drivers, tour guides, and agency workers.
Alpaslan commented that 2019 was a remarkable year for the tourism sector as Turkey played host to 52 million tourists, which was worth 262.09 billion Turkish Lira. Whilst revenues were expected to reach 40 billion USD in 2020, Alpaslan spoke of how the coronavirus pandemic was responsible for a significant drop in tourists visiting the country. Tourism revenue was down by two thirds last year due to the pandemic, this reflected how dramatically the global travel restrictions peaked in 2020.
January 2020 saw tourism drop by over 70%
January 2020 saw the total number of tourists arriving in Turkey drop by almost 72%, with just 509,787 visitors to the country as the pandemic started to spread. Whilst the effects of the pandemic are still being felt this year, Alpaslan confirmed that the necessary measures are in place in Turkey to ensure foreign visitors can safely visit the country again.
Early summer bookings
According to previous statements made by representatives of the tourism sector, early bookings from Russians as well as solid interest from both the UK and Europe have boosted expectations hugely for this summer in Turkey. Russia is an important market for the country with Europe and UK being amongst the top countries sending tourists to the country
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